Opinion: The future of the China-US-Russia triangle after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan
Since February 24, 2022, the international community's focus was concentrated entirely on the war in Ukraine and the growing Russia – West confrontation. It seemed that nothing could change the situation until the end of hostilities in Ukraine. However, on August 2 and 3, almost everyone’s attention shifted from Ukraine to Taiwan. As the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, stated her intention to visit Taiwan, up to half a million people were watching the trajectory of her plane on air flight tracking sites. The negative reaction of China, including the warning of President Xi during his conversation with President Biden that those who played with fire would be perished by it, created hype around this visit. Many were discussing the possibility of Chinese military jets closing the airspace over Taiwan and preventing Pelosi’s plane from landing in Taiwan, while some enthusiasts were even contemplating the possibility of a US-China direct military clash. As Pelosi landed in Taiwan and met with the Taiwanese President, the global social media was full of amateur assessments about the strategic victory of the US and the confirmation of the US global hegemony. However, as the dust settles down, and information noise and manipulation eventually decreases, a more serious assessment is needed to understand the real consequences of this visit.
Thu, 08/04/2022 - 13:52
Opinion: Sweden must re-evaluate its internal and external relations before NATO accession can become reality
Given the increasingly uncertain political climate in which Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson finds himself, Sweden requires an internal and external positional re-evaluation in order to finalise its accession to NATO, writes Alfred Stranne in this op-ed for commonspace.eu. Meanwhile, Sweden needs to understand the increasing anger coming from Ankara, which is severely hindering its progression towards becoming a member of the alliance.
Meanwhile, Sweden must also look within NATO itself to seek support in reassuring Ankara that Sweden will be a significant security provider for the alliance, providing added benefits for Ankara as well. This would repair Sweden’s relations with Turkey and reassure Ankara that despite the ideological and religious differences between Kristersson and Erdogan, Sweden and Turkey have common interests in seeking regional peace and stability.
Fri, 02/03/2023 - 09:33
Ukraine gears up for EU summit amid warnings of anniversary invasion
As the one-year anniversary of Russia’s re-invasion of Ukraine approaches, Ukrainian officials are expressing concerns of a new major offensive following a recent large-scale Russian mobilisation. This comes as Kyiv prepares to host EU officials on Friday (3 February) for a summit on the embattled counry's progress towards EU membership.
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov estimates that Russia has mobilised up to 500,000 troops, despite official numbers claiming the mobilisation of 300,000 Russian troops. The estimates come after Ukrainian officials have announced high military activity on the Russian side of its border.
Russia also celebrates its "Defender of the Fatherland Day" on 23 February, just one day before the one-year mark of the so-called "special military operation".
Thu, 02/02/2023 - 11:22
Iran summons senior Ukrainian diplomat over drone strike comments
Iran has summoned the Ukrainian chargé d'affairs in Tehran over comments made by a senior Ukrainian official about a suspected Israeli drone strike on an Iranian military facility late in Isfahan on Saturday (28 January).
According to Iran's defence ministry, three drones were involved in the attack about 23:30 local time on Saturday night on what Iran's official Irna news agency called "an ammunition manufacturing plant". Some reports have suggested that the facility in question was connected to the production of missiles, however.
The Iranian defence ministry said it had foiled the attack, with the facility suffering only "minor roof damage". The Jerusalem Post on the other hand reported on Sunday morning that the attack had been a "phenomenal success", citing Western and foreign intelligence sources.
Although Israel has not publically claimed responsibility for the strike, The Wall Street Journal also claimed on Sunday morning that Israel and Mossad - the national intelligence agency of Israel - were behind it, citing US officials.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian criticised the drone attack as "cowardly" and aimed at creating "insecurity" in the country.
Mon, 01/30/2023 - 12:54
Terrorist attack against Azerbaijani Embassy in Tehran
At least one security officer was killed and two others injured when a man armed with a Kalashnikov attacked the Azerbaijani Embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
The incident happened on Friday morning as the man tried to force his way into the diplomatic mission.
Azerbaijan has strongly condemned the attack and criticised Tehran for not protecting its diplomatic mission. The Iranian Ambassador was summoned to the Azerbaijani foreign ministry in Baku and told that the attack was the consequence of a systematic anti-Azerbaijan campaign. There have been outbursts of anti-Azerbaijani sentiment in some sections of the Iranian media which appear to have the blessing of at least some elements of the Iranian regime.
There has been widespread condemnation of the attack by the international community, including the EU, the US and many European and Middle East governments.
commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that the attack on the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran is the latest in a series of unfriendly or hostile acts towards Azerbaijan originating from Tehran that seem to be encouraged by at least some elements of the Iranian Shia clerical regime.
Fri, 01/27/2023 - 13:27
Deployment of the EU monitoring mission to Armenia: A view from Azerbaijan
Thu, 01/26/2023 - 14:53
On January 23, the Council of the European Union (EU) agreed to establish a civilian monitoring mission in Armenia’s border areas in order to “ensure an environment conducive to normalization efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan”. The deployment of the mission has caused mixed reactions in the two countries and frustrated Russia, writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed for commonspace.eu.
Germany officially confirms export of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, approves re-export from third countries
After weeks of growing pressure from allies, Berlin has finally announced that it will send 14 of its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. It has also approved the re-export of Leopard 2 tanks from third countries.
Other countries have also pledged to send Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks, including Poland, Norway and Portugal. It has also been reported that Spain intends to send Ukraine the German-made tanks too. Last week, the UK announced that it would send 14 of its Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv.
The announcement comes as the United States is reportedly considering arming Ukraine with its around 30 of its powerful Abrams tanks, and reports of Switzerland intending to lift its ban on supplying Kyiv with arms.
The Leopard 2 first came into service in 1979, has a top speed of 68km/h (42mph), and a maximum range of around 500km (311 miles). They are specifically designed to compete with the Russian T-90 tanks, which Moscow has been using during its full-scale invasion.
Wed, 01/25/2023 - 11:51
Poland officially asks Germany for permission to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine
Poland has officially asked Germany for permission to send some of its German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Polish Defence Minister announced in a tweet on Tuesday morning (24 January).
In the tweet, Mariusz Blaszczak wrote: "The Germans have already received our request for consent to the transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. I also appeal to the German side to join the coalition of countries supporting Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks. This is our common cause because it is about the security of the whole of Europe!''
Germany has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to either supply Ukraine with its Leopard 2 tanks, or at least approve other countries' re-export of them.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had said on Sunday (22 January) in an interview with French television that she would not "stand in the way" of Poland if it wanted to sent its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. On his part, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday morning that Berlin had yet to decide on the delivery of combat tanks to Ukraine, saying that "There is no news that I can deliver at this point. I have said that shortly a decision will be made and I can only assume that will be the case."
Tue, 01/24/2023 - 12:38
Turkey rules out support for Sweden NATO bid after Stockholm protests
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said that Sweden should not expect support from Ankara over its bid to join NATO following protests in Stockholm at the weekend.
Surrounded by police for his protection, on Saturday (21 January) Danish-Swedish, far-right, anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan burned the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm while making disparaging remarks about immigrants and Islam. This incensed President Erdogan who criticised the Swedish authorities for letting the stunt happen.
“It is clear that those who allowed such vileness to take place in front of our embassy can no longer expect any charity from us regarding their NATO membership application,” Erdogan said on Monday (23 January).
Another bone of contention between Sweden and Turkey regarding the former's accession to NATO concerns the Kurdish question. Later on Saturday following Paludan's stunt, there was a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Stockholm where flags of various Kurdish groups were waved, including that of the Kurdish Workers' Party, or the PKK. The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey, and although it is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, its symbols are not banned in Sweden.
Mon, 01/23/2023 - 18:53